Posted on December 24, 2014, Marshall Lemon Elite: Dangerous Review – The Great Sandbox In The Sky
In my brief time as an Elite: Dangerous starship commander, I’ve seen and done a great many things. I’ve tracked down elusive resources and rushed them to space stations to meet a deadline. I’ve frame-shifted out of normal space mere seconds before enemy fire would have cut through my hull. I’ve gone hunting through space for rebel transmissions and black boxes, only to stumble across a funeral procession.
Elite: Dangerous is special because this all happened without a story campaign connecting each event. Just like previous Elite games, Dangerous drops your spaceship into a lone corner of the galaxy and lets you find your own way in a sandbox universe. At no point will a superior officer to give you a command, and you’ll never see a mission objective directing you somewhere you never planned to go already. The closest thing to assistance you’ll get is when the ship’s computer reminds you to lower your landing gear during docking.
Elite: Dangerous and its old-school sensibilities can be hard to adjust to, and it could have featured some limited narrative to provide context to players. But you can’t deny that its space sim gameplay is just as engaging today as when Elite introduced the concept in 1984.
If you’ve been longing for space sims with modern graphics, or just want to see why everybody’s fussing about them, Elite: Dangerous is a welcome return of the classic franchise.
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Release Date: Dec. 16, 2014
Available: Elite: Dangerous Store
If you loved the original Elite, or the open-universe space sims it inspired, rest assured that Dangerous will absolutely suck you in. In fact, Dangerous feels more like a next-gen remake than a true sequel, refining and perfecting the classic gameplay within a shiny new graphics engine.
The biggest difference is that players must log into a multiplayer server instead of working from a local save file, but that shouldn’t discourage you too much. Elite is still the exact same single-player experience it always was, even if you spot a few more humans from time to time.